Arup told the AJ the move was ‘in response to ongoing market volatility, coupled with a slowdown in some of our projects and to ensure the continued efficiency, versatility and resilience of our business.
Globally Arup employs around 15,500 people. According to its most recent filed accounts – for the year ending March 2022 – the company had an international turnover of £1.89 billion while fees paid to UK offices topped £700 million.
The practice is also heavily involved in the Grimshaw-designed HS2 terminus at Euston, which has been sent back to the drawing board and is expected to be revised a third time – possibly with as few as seven platforms.
Luton Direct Air-Rail Transit(DART), designed by Arup’s architecture arm. Photo: Simon Kennedy
Arup said voluntary redundancy had been offered to senior members of staff with negotiations ongoing.
In March, data from industry trackers Glenigan showed the value of projects starting on site had dropped by 40 per cent compared with 2022, with housing particularly affected.
‘As an employee-owned organisation, we have a responsibility to all our members, clients and collaborators to ensure that we are right-sized for the type of work our talented designers, engineers and sustainability consultants are tackling, both today and in the future.
‘We are taking this difficult but necessary decision and offering this option now so that the firm is well-positioned to tackle any continued market shifts while maintaining Arup’s commitment to excellence in project delivery.’
Arup was also working on HS2’s now-scrapped East Midlands leg to Leeds, which was axed by the government in November 2021. That included collaboration on a Foster + Partners Leeds terminus.
Redundancies at the group – whose architectural arm is ranked 38th in the AJ100 rankings – also comes amid a wider slowdown in work and economic uncertainty, with the UK narrowly avoiding recession in June, according to the Office for National Statistics, which reported 0.2 per cent growth.
And it was providing civil engineering and environmental services on Phase 2a, from the West Midlands to Crewe, which has since been paused.
The AJ understands that across the multidisciplinary practice, about 200 people have lost their jobs in the latest wave of cuts. Arup has a total UK workforce of around 6,000, including around 57 architects.
as the AJ previously reported, in the wake of the government review, Grimshaw made around 90 people redundant who had been working on the job.
The move comes after the government paused work on HS2 in March. Arup has been involved with the major railway project since 2015.